This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Custom, Culture and Religion : Misogyny 

"It's putting a burden on these parents, because now they are having to choose between maintaining adherence to [the author's views], versus the Criminal Code [of Canada]."
"Any cutting of the genitalia for non-medical reasons is prohibited -- it has been prohibited [in Canada] for twenty years."
Corinne Packer, senior researcher, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa

"Female genital mutilation in the form that cuts the clitoris or inhibits a woman's ability to achieve sexual pleasure in any way is absolutely against Islam and the values it preaches."
"Female circumcision in the form that removes the skin above the clitoris, thereby further exposing it and enabling a woman to achieve more pleasure during the sexual act, is something that scholars in the Islamic world have recommended for many centuries."
Muslim Council of Canada

"[This blog posting explains] how misogynists and feminists are feeding upon each other to denigrate an Islamic practice that brings untold benefits to women."
"[The truth about female circumcision has been obscured by] Islamophobic sentiments expressed by a largely Jewish-controlled media. [Jews attempt to hide the fact that limited female circumcision is another] feather in the cap [of Islam]."
Asiff Hussein, Centre for Islamic Studies, Sri Lanka

"It [circumcision] doesn't have any health benefits, of course."
"Circumcising women is clearly something that impacts on their sexuality on their right to bodily integrity ... It's very difficult to maintain that it is harmless."

Els Leye, professor, International Centre for Reproductive Health, Ghent University, Belgium
Although female genital mutilation in Africa has gained much attention in the West, it is practiced elsewhere in the Islamic world.

A website for Muslims in Calgary representing three local mosques one of which includes the Muslim Council of Calgary, an elected body representing the Muslim community which has given its support to a 'mild' type of circumcision which a foreign Islamic scholar describes in a blog post that was cross-posted to the Calgary website. The post discussed whether genital cutting of women and girls is useful. The author and the Muslim Council of Calgary agreed it is. And an unknown number of girls and women in Canada are exposed to this illegal cultural practise.

Ask Aayan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch-American who in her native country was forced as a child to undergo the procedure. "It was done to me at the age of five, and 10 years later, even 20 years later, I would not have testified against my parents. It is a psychological issue. The people who are doing this are fathers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts. No little girl is going to send them to prison. How do you live with that guilt?" In never-ending pain and anguish, apparently.

Throughout the Middle East, parts of South Asia and Africa, it is routine to have a child undergo female genital mutilation. Any young woman who has intact genitals is considered impure, and thus unmarriageable, within the Muslim community. This, despite that the procedure is usually done with the use of unsterilized tools, and the child is exposed to excruciating physical pain in her disfigurement. The scars in adulthood cause discomfort and pain in urination and menstruation and, of course intercourse.

In some instances disfigurement is so all-encompassing, a women will be unable to give birth normally, placing her life and that of her baby in danger. The practise is culturally engrained as much as it is religiously indicated as a belief that faithful Muslims must continue its practise. It is a practise recognized as demeaning and injurious to women, but one that the societies which honour it view as a way to control women and it is typical in Muslim societies that women are needful of control. It is also a portable practise, one that Muslims take with them in their migration to other countries.

In countries of the Western world it represents a criminal act, an assault, not a medical practise. But in the Calgary Muslim community there is much that has been imported, from a penchant for recruitment to 'radicalization'; the attraction of jihad for restive young men, a hostility to non-Muslims, and in particular Jews viewed as 'Islamophobic' toward whom Muslims are only too happy to return the compliment in viral anti-Semitism, and in the belief that female circumcision supports the virtue and 'honour' of both the recipient and her family and tribe.

"Among social activists and feminists, combating female genital mutilation (FGM) is an important policy goal. Sometimes called female circumcision or female genital cutting, FGM is the cutting of the clitoris of girls in order to curb their sexual desire and preserve their sexual honor before marriage. The practice, prevalent in some majority Muslim countries, has a tremendous cost: many girls bleed to death or die of infection. Most are traumatized. Those who survive can suffer adverse health effects during marriage and pregnancy. New information from Iraqi Kurdistan raises the possibility that the problem is more prevalent in the Middle East than previously believed and that FGM is far more tied to religion than many Western academics and activists admit."
"Many Muslims and academics in the West take pains to insist that the practice is not rooted in religion but rather in culture. 'When one considers that the practice does not prevail and is much condemned in countries like Saudi Arabia, the center of the Islamic world, it becomes clear that the notion that it is an Islamic practice is a false one', Haseena Lockhat, a child clinical psychologist at North Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, wrote. True, FGM occurs in non-Muslim societies in Africa. And in Arab states such as Egypt, where perhaps 97 percent of girls suffer genital mutilation, both Christian Copts and Muslims are complicit."
"But at the village level, those who commit the practice believe it to be religiously mandated. Religion is not only theology but also practice. And the practice is widespread throughout the Middle East. Many diplomats, international organization workers, and Arabists argue that the problem is localized to North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa, but they are wrong. The problem is pervasive throughout the Levant, the Fertile Crescent, and the Arabian Peninsula, and among many immigrants to the West from these countries. Silence on the issue is less reflective of the absence of the problem than insufficient freedom for feminists and independent civil society to raise the issue."
Thomas von der Osten-Sacken and Thomas Uwer   The Middle East Quarterly
It represents the height of hypocrisy, ingenuousness and dissembling to claim that cutting of the clitoris represents a light surgical-cosmetic touch of great benefit to women. That through this process women will be exposed to greater sensual pleasure in the sex act. This is not and has never been the purpose of female circumcision; the direct opposite is the truth. The tradition is valued as a way to ensure that women will never realize physical pleasure in the sex act, as a way to ensure she will always be pure, chaste as custom demands. Herein lies family honour. 

female circumcision
Midwives wait for the next girl to be brought in for circumcision in Bandung, Indonesia. Photograph: Stephanie Sinclair / VII


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